This is sad news. Actor and comedic giant Fred Willard has died. 

The news was first released by Jamie Lee Curtis to her social media account. Many were confused because his passing had not been confirmed by news outlets. However those who were fans of Fred Willard knew it was most likely true as he had worked numerous times with Curtis’ husband, director Christopher Guest

Shortly after Curtis’ post, Rolling Stone reported the death. Willard’s rep, Glenn Schwartz confirmed to Rolling Stone saying he died of natural causes. Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement, “My father passed away very peacefully last night at the fantastic age of 86 years old. He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.”

Willard’s wife Mary Lovell Willard, a playwright, died in 2018. She was very involved in Willard’s career and the two had sketch group in Los Angeles called The Mohos. 

Willard is best known for his genius-level comedy work in Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries. His work in Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show (watch the clip in Curtis’ post above!) is unforgettable. His other acting credits are numerous and span five decades. His later projects included Modern Family and many appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Coming up at the end of this month is the new series Space Force in which he appears for 10 episodes. Space Force premieres May 29th. We’ll be watching

His dryness in delivery and charming nature radiated in every role he had. His mark on comedy is indelible. Colleagues and fans will remember him fondly. Up and coming comic actors and improvisors will be studying him for years to come. Rest in Peace, Fred Willard.

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